Quick Chickpea Salad — Recipe of the Week
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We all know that protein plays a huge role in the m.e.l.t. diet. But what sort of protein do you have on your salad when you are currently bored with or tired of your usual options? Maybe you need to stop thinking “animal-based” protein, and start thinking “plant-based.” Today’s salad features chickpeas–also known as garbanzo beans–as the main protein.
Both the seed coat (outer layer) and cotyledon (large main inner portion) of chickpeas contain a wealth of phytonutrients that function as antioxidants or as anti-inflammatory nutrients. Chickpeas are an excellent source of molybdenum (which acts as a catalyst for enzymes) and manganese (helps fat and carbohydrate metabolism and blood sugar regulation). They are a very good source of folate and copper as well as a good source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, protein, iron and zinc.
In addition to being such nutritional powerhouses, chickpeas are very tasty served hot (in soups) or cold (in hummus). They provide a savory, slightly nutty flavor that is a staple in many international cuisines. If you haven’t tried them in a salad recently, here’s a great way to enjoy them!
Quick Chickpea Salad
Serves: up to 6
For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup seed or nut butter (such as Sunflower butter or cashew/almond butter)
- 1 tablespoon sriracha or sambal oelek
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce (optional)
- Salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons of water to thin the dressing; more if needed
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar (optional)
For the salad:
- 2 cans reduced-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed (1/2 cup chickpeas = 1 serving)
- 1 small red cabbage, finely shredded
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- sunflower seeds, 1 tablespoon per individual serving (optional)
- Open the two cans of chickpeas and dump them into a colander. Rinse well with cold water and set over a bowl to drain thoroughly.
- In a large bowl whisk together the nut or seed butter, sriracha or sambal oelek, lime juice, and sesame oil. Add the fish sauce and soy sauce (if using), and water and whisk again. Dressing should be pourable; add more water by the tablespoon until the viscosity is correct. Taste the dressing; if you find it too sour, add palm sugar.
- In the bowl with the dressing, add the shredded cabbage, carrots, scallions, and cilantro. Toss it all together until all ingredients are coated with dressing.
- Distribute salad among bowls; top each salad with the desired serving size of chickpeas. Sprinkle sunflower seeds over all if desired.
Note: Not feeling the red cabbage? Two or three heads of chopped romaine will be an equally crunchy substitute. Also feel free to add other vegetables by the cupful, such as diced red peppers.